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The most important battle you've probably never heard of

The Battle of Bouvines was fought 800 years ago on July 27, 1214 and its outcome directly led to the Magna Carta and also to the national identities of both England and France. Some historians claim this date should be remembered after the Battle of Hastings in 1066 as one of the defining moments in English history. King John attempted to retake lands in Normandy employing an alliance army including Otto of Germany. John attacked from the south, but more importantly Otto was decisively defeated at Bouvines. Humiliated in defeat John was forced to consent to the Magna Carta, and the Anglo-Norman realm came to a final end allowing both England and France to develop their separate national identities. More background.
posted by caddis on Jul 26, 2014 - 14 comments

It was late June

On 24 June 1914, a young man caught the 10.20 train from London to Malvern. At around 12.45 the train stopped at a small country station in Gloucestershire. And what happened then? Well .. nothing much. The station closed in 1966, but this afternoon a special train will be stopping there, unwontedly, to mark the centenary of one of the best-loved poems in the English language. [more inside]
posted by verstegan on Jun 24, 2014 - 19 comments

LON (London): HELLO THERE WHAT ARE ALL THESE RUMOURS WE HEAR THIS IS LON

FK (Falklands): WE HAVE LOTS OF NEW FRIENDS
LON: WHAT ABOUT INVASION RUMOURS
FK: THOSE ARE THE FRIENDS I WAS MEANING

Today marks the 32nd anniversary of the ceasefire which ended the ten-week Falklands War. The war began when Argentine forces invaded the nearly undefended British archipelago, and ended with a decisive British victory following a counter-invasion (which the US Navy had considered to be a “military impossibility”). This war—in which 649 Argentine soldiers, 255 British soldiers, and 3 civilians were killed—is still a fresh memory for the countries involved, as seen from growing tensions between the Argentina and England sides at the World Cup in Brazil. Only two current England players and four current Argentina players had been born when the war occurred.
posted by 256 on Jun 14, 2014 - 63 comments

Flew On The Pitch And We're 'Aving A Laugh

Yesterday, during the pre-World Cup friendly between England and Peru being played at Wembley Stadium, there were three goals scored, but the moment that captured the most attention has been this unbelievable, incredible paper airplane toss.
posted by BeerFilter on May 31, 2014 - 24 comments

Everything Looks Pre-Planned With These Hungarians

"On 25 November 1953, an international football match was played between Hungary - then the world's number one ranked team, the Olympic champions and on a run of 24 unbeaten games, and England... The British press referred to it as the "Match of the Century" - the originators of the game, against the finest team in the world at that time." [more inside]
posted by marienbad on May 12, 2014 - 21 comments

May the road rise up to meet you.

The Roader’s Digest is ‘the most complete archive of information on the British and Irish road networks on the web.’ from the A1 to the R999; from the B3306 to the B855, they probably have a description of it. [more inside]
posted by misteraitch on May 6, 2014 - 20 comments

The good that men do (sometimes) lives after them

Today is the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare's birth - "...The centenary of Shakespeare’s birth fell soon after the theatres reopened with the Restoration of the monarchy, following the period when the Puritans had closed them down for the duration of the Civil War. His plays formed a staple part of the repertoire, but those of Beaumont and John Fletcher were performed more frequently. Shakespeare only pulled ahead of the pack in the Georgian era. It was around his 200th anniversary, under the auspices of the great actor David Garrick, that he took on his status as National Poet and exemplar of artistic genius...." More here
posted by marienbad on Apr 23, 2014 - 31 comments

'the epitome of barbarism and heathendom.'

The Vikings invented soap operas and pioneered globalisation - so why do we depict them as brutes?
posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 24, 2014 - 51 comments

It's unknown whether these homebrewers went for insanely hoppy IPAs too

"As an important part of daily nourishment, women had always produced beer at home and for their own household. However, in Holland from the beginning of the thirteenth century beer production for the general market commenced. In the developing cities more and more labour was divided among specialised craftsmen. Professional breweries were established and the beer industry became a serious trade." -- female brewers in Holland and England, a paper by Marjolien van Dekken looking at how the brewery industry changed in Early Modern Times from largely homebrewed and controlled by women to a more large scale and male dominated industry. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Mar 13, 2014 - 10 comments

It matters to me

In March 1993 Bikini Kill toured the UK. "It Changed My Life" is a film about that tour, with openers Huggy Bear, & contributions by the Raincoats, Sister George, and Skinned Teen. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Feb 26, 2014 - 14 comments

Lord Cobham was burnt alive, but I forget what for

15 year old Jane Austen wrote a satrical history of English monarchs and now you can read it.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 25, 2014 - 19 comments

American Deep Blues Touring 1960's Britain

The American Folk Blues Festival 1962 - 1966; Vol 2; Vol 3 - The festival was an annual event with dozens of classic blues greats like Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters & Howlin' Wolf playing to appreciative UK audiences. "Attendees at Manchester in 1962, the first ever venue for the festival in Britain, included Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones and Jimmy Page. Subsequent attendees at the first London festivals are believed to have also included such influential musicians as Eric Burdon, Eric Clapton, and Steve Winwood. Collectively these were the primary movers in the blues explosion that would lead to the British Invasion." [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Feb 23, 2014 - 19 comments

Reet good.

An interview with Millen Eve, a very cute Yorkshire lass. (SLYT)
posted by Caskeum on Feb 14, 2014 - 27 comments

What Planet Are You From?

How many of the 114,580 people in Estadio Azteca on June 22, 1986, missed one or both of Diego Maradona’s goals against England because they were in the bathroom or buying a Budweiser? The two legendary goals that decided the World Cup quarterfinal occurred in quick succession shortly after the start of the second half. In the 51st minute, the Hand of God beat the hand of Shilton. Only four minutes later, while the outrage of English fans and players was still raw, El Diego received the ball in his own half, facing his own net. It took him 11 touches and 10.6 seconds to beat six opponents—Beardsley, Reid, Butcher (twice), Fenwick, and the goalkeeper, Shilton—and bury what many consider to be the greatest goal of all time.

posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 12, 2014 - 14 comments

STRENGTH YOUR BLOOD AND SHADOW

At first sight the search for peace and stability in Iraq, and the search for physical and mental fitness in the extreme contortions of modern Yoga seem to have absolutely nothing in common. But curiously they do. Both the terrible structural problems and distortions that underly Iraqi society today, and the strange, contorted poses that millions of people perform every day in things like Bikram's Hot Yoga, actually come from the fevered imagination of the British ruling class one hundred years ago. As they felt Britain's power declining they wanted desperately to go back into the past and create a purer and more innocent world, uncorrupted by the messiness of the modern industrial world - a new Eden forged both by strengthening and purifying the human body and by inventing new model countries round the world. And we are still suffering from the consequences of that terrible nostalgia. BODYBUILDING AND NATION-BUILDING
posted by timshel on Feb 4, 2014 - 11 comments

SPINE CHILLING

BRITISH "GHOST TRAIN" FACADES FROM THE 1970s AND 80s
(from the National Fairground Archive digital collection)
posted by timshel on Jan 16, 2014 - 12 comments

You'll probably want your winter wetsuit

Icy weather getting you down? How about a nice relaxing beach holiday? The same weather pattern bringing Antarctic temperatures to America is pushing Himalayan surf towards Europe. With storm swell battering coastlines from Portugal to Cornwall, big-wave specialists from around the world are flocking to the unlikely surf mecca of Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo, Ireland. Apparently it's been pretty intense... "Down there was living repeatedly rabbit punched while diving in the deep!" [more inside]
posted by Pre-Taped Call In Show on Jan 8, 2014 - 17 comments

Mr. Rick Wakeman on keyboards ... and various other concerns

Whether taking all mankind close to the edge with his keyboard contributions to every punk's favorite prog-rock band Yes, or going it solo (in fully sequined gown) with all Six Wives of Henry VIII all the way to the center of the earth, or perhaps with figure skating Knights of the Round Table, or composing the score for Ken Russell's Liztomania (and "acting" in it), or doing definitive session work for the likes of David Bowie, Black Sabbath, etc, or candidly singing the praises of Christianity and/or Freemasonry ... [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Dec 21, 2013 - 34 comments

Hobbits would only drink ales since lagers are not found on Middle-earth

So, you want to eat like a hobbit do you? The big old dragon of Middle-Earth recipes is the charmingly retro 'Middle-Earth Recipes' (now with a more modern and photo-friendly blog version ) from which NPR's Beth Accomando has complied an all-day feasting menu suitable for marathon watching (or reading) assorted Lord Of The Rings media while Recipewise sticks to foods served by Bilbo in The Hobbit itself and explains the Victorian convention of high vs. low tea. (Author Diane Duane's own Hobbit-inspired recipe, Took Family Seed Cake can be made with poppy rather than caraway seed if that's your thing) Need something to do while digesting? Why not read about the history and meaning of the rural comfort food in Tolkien at Strange Horizons " Well Stocked Larders: Food And Diet Of Hobbits" by Stephanie Green.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 15, 2013 - 45 comments

Ask: did you know they have wi-fi and sushi?

How to write about the North
posted by mippy on Nov 28, 2013 - 63 comments

"Save one life, save the world."

In 1988, Nicholas Winton appeared on the BBC program "That's Life." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 24, 2013 - 12 comments

A Night at the Xclusiv

THE HEIGHT OF GOTH: 1984: futuristic + way out young people [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Nov 7, 2013 - 116 comments

WWI in Color

World War I in Color is a documentary designed to make the Great War come alive for a 21st-century audience. The events of 1914-18 are authoritatively narrated by Kenneth Branagh, who presents the military and political overview, while interviews with historians add different perspectives in six 48 minute installments annotated within. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Oct 31, 2013 - 60 comments

UK: there's a big storm, a 'hurricane', coming (possibly)

The 'worst storm since 1987' is due to hit the UK over the next few days. It may also hit 'northern France and the Low Countries'. It may be 'overwhelming' and 'there is a risk of some parts getting two inches of rain in a six hour period'. The Met Office has warned that 'England and Wales will be hit by a significant storm on Sunday night with winds of up to 80mph in some areas'. They also said the predicted storm was 'not one you would see every year' and that 'exceptional winds will batter Surrey'. Drivers are advised to 'at a minimum, take a fully-charged mobile phone and warm, weatherproof clothing.' Some media outlets claim, however, the storm will only be the worst of the last five year, though in Bristol it'll be the worst in 'two decades'. Never the less, 'stay well away from trees'. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Oct 26, 2013 - 164 comments

Who Sits On All The Money?

The Guardian presents an animated video explaining the distribution of wealth in the UK (and how it's getting worse).
posted by The Whelk on Oct 10, 2013 - 14 comments

Paul Collingwood: catches win matches

As Durham clinch the 2013 County Championship at their home ground, captain Paul Collingwood can reflect on success at club and country level, especially this season. For England he's scored more than a few runs against Australia and other sides, and has notched up 10 centuries, 20 fifties and 96 catches in test matches (the long form of the game) alone, in addition to a spot of wicket keeping. He's also captained England to their only global cricket tournament victory. But Paul is most well-known for his catching... [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Sep 19, 2013 - 5 comments

gary, king of the humans

HTML Giant reviewer AD Jameson reviewed the movie The World's End. He didn't love it at first. Then he thought about it more. Then he thought about it a lot. [Warning, every link in this post contains spoilers] [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Sep 11, 2013 - 82 comments

A new library for an old city

The new central library of Birmingham (England), the largest public building of its type in Europe, is officially opened tomorrow by Malala Yousafzai. Reviews, pre-opening, have been largely positive [Independent] [Telegraph] [Guardian] [Residents] [Financial Times]. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Sep 2, 2013 - 19 comments

"Your two o'clock appointment is here, and he's black."

Fifty years ago, another bus-centric race dispute took place. Despite "Just 12 miles away in Bath, black crews were working on buses. London Transport recruitment officers had travelled to Barbados specifically to invite workers to come to the capital" ...non-whites found it impossible to obtain employment working on buses in Bristol, England. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Aug 27, 2013 - 11 comments

Cuthbert Ottaway - Englands First Captain (Foot-Ball, Association Rules)

"Cuthbert Ottaway lifted the FA Cup as skipper of Oxford University, represented them at five different sports ranging from athletics to real tennis, and once shared a 150-run partnership with WG Grace in the highest level of cricket. His most notable achievement was captaining England in the first ever international football match though. About 4,000 spectators, including a "large number of ladies", gathered to watch the historic game against Scotland at the West of Scotland Cricket Club in Partick on 30 November 1872."
posted by marienbad on Aug 21, 2013 - 4 comments

Ye are many - they are few

On this day in 1819, 60,000 people turned out at St Peter's Field in Manchester for democracy...and the Yeomanry turned out for a massacre. [more inside]
posted by Thing on Aug 16, 2013 - 23 comments

Marvelous photographs of 19th Century London street life

The street photographer I share with you this week was a man born in Great Britain an entire century before Winogrand and Friedlander. His name was John Thomson (1837-1921) and it is known that he traveled the Far East taking photographs during much of the period between 1860-1879. When he returned to London, he began taking documentary photographs of everyday people on the streets of London. Via madamjujujive
posted by nickyskye on Aug 13, 2013 - 18 comments

Rapper delight

The 2013 Dancing England Rapper Tournament was held last March in Burton upon Trent, but rather than featuring quick flows and clever rhymes, were all about five people keeping hold of flexible swords while doing intricate dance figures, often in a pub. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Aug 3, 2013 - 11 comments

Coffins Within Coffins

Hey, remember when archaeologists discovered the remains of Richard III under a car park in Leicester? Well, apparently they also unearthed a stone coffin dated to at least a century before Richard. When it was opened, it was revealed to contain... another coffin, sealed and made of lead. None of us in the team have ever seen a lead coffin within a stone coffin before, says one of the archaeologists. Oh sure, it's probably just the remains of one of the founders of the monastery that used to be there, but if the movies have taught us anything, it's that if something is mysterious, it must also be evil, right?
posted by Cash4Lead on Jul 30, 2013 - 46 comments

The Great Kate Wait almost over

Days after British and International news reporters and photographers started claiming space in front of the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's hospital, (some have been there since July 3, or 10 days before Kate Middleton's suspected due date of July 13), the "Royal Baby" is finally on the way now that the Duchess of Cambridge is reportedly in labor. Millions around the world wait for the birth of the newest addition to the Royal Family, who will be third in line to the throne of the British Monarchy, whether it's a boy or a girl.
posted by CrazyLemonade on Jul 22, 2013 - 338 comments

The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia

Tomorrow, the 2013 Ashes series (England verses Australia) begins with the start of the first match at Trent Bridge (Nottingham). Though England and Australia have battled since 1861, the Ashes were first contested in 1882. Australia lead England 31-30 in series victories. England start as strong favorites with the bookmakers. Glenn McGrath cautiously predicts a 2-1 Australia series win, whilst Ian Botham predicts a 10-0 wipeout for England over the two series. The 2013 Ashes will be streamed live to 53 countries over YouTube. With Britain in the grip of unusual summer weather (sun), much play is likely. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Jul 9, 2013 - 127 comments

Do me a favour: cancel all your other bookmarks

Serious Australian actor and illusionist Claudia O'Doherty has come to the UK to make some viral videos for her family's travel agency.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED on Jul 6, 2013 - 20 comments

Rupert Everett, Really Into Dead Victorian Dreamboats

In 2008 the actor Rupert Everett hosted (seemingly from his apartment) a rather strange documentary: The Victorian Sex Explorer ( 2 3 4 5 ), an attempt to follow in the footsteps of famed Explorer, translator, and author Sir Richard Burton and convince us of Sir Burton's passion for sexual experimentation while laying in lots of bathhouses and visiting brothels. [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Jul 4, 2013 - 52 comments

The Underpants Revolution and other stories from the past...

"Whereas yesterday's Cora Pearl was eccentric, charming and a little cold-hearted, today's Victorian courtesan, La Païva, is straight-up eerie. Like, so eerie that a lot of people thought she was a vampire. My hand to Baby Jesus, people actually believed she was a supernatural being. " Bizarre Victoria shares (what else) bizarre, scandalous, and noteworthy stories form the Victorian era (and more). What do you serve at a country club for fat men? Devil's footprints! Lola Montez: servant whipper, de facto ruler of Bavaria. Empress Sissi and her No Good Very Bad Life. Aristocratic marriage at gunpoint. Public pubic hair trimming. Specialties of the Victorian Brothel. Curing hiccups by setting your shirt on fire. Gilded Age Arranged Marriages.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 3, 2013 - 8 comments

An Account Of War At Sea

Samuel Leech, R.N., fought in the battle between the 38 gun HMS Macedonian, commanded by Captain John Surman Carden, and the 44 gun USS United States, Commodore Stephen Decatur on October 25th 1812.
A strange noise, such as I had never heard before, next arrested my attention; it sounded like the tearing of sails, just over our heads. This I soon ascertained to be the wind of the enemy's shot. The firing, after a few minutes' cessation, recommenced. The roaring of cannon could now be heard from all parts of our trembling ship, and, mingling as it did with that of our foes, it made a most hideous noise. By-and-by I heard the shot strike the sides of our ship; the whole scene grew indescribably confused and horrible; it was like some awfully tremendous thunder-storm, whose deafening roar is attended by incessant streaks of lightning, carrying death in every flash and strewing the ground with the victims of its wrath: only, in our case, the scene was rendered more horrible than that, by the presence of torrents of blood which dyed our decks.

posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 24, 2013 - 8 comments

The EDL almost felt ignored.

"I’m not saying the Left embraces or even excuses away these clerics, but this strange reticence across the Left not only allows them to fester, but has other consequences."
posted by marienbad on Jun 18, 2013 - 42 comments

1920s Britain in colour

In the mid-1920s, Claude Friese-Greene filmed The Open Road, a record of his journey through Britain, using the 'Biocolour' technique first developed by his father William. Eighty years later, the BFI produced a digital version of the preserved and restored film. We've seen London in 1926 previously on MeFi, but there's plenty more of The Open Road to see, including weavers in Kilbarchan (1:16), farmers harvesting with oxen in Cirencester (0:52), Glamorgan coal-miners (0:46), and more. [more inside]
posted by Catseye on Jun 17, 2013 - 7 comments

Cutting legal aid

"A fundamental shift in the relationship between the government and the governed is taking place: by restricting access to the law, the state is handing itself an alarming immunity from legal scrutiny. There are several aspects to this: the partial or total withdrawal of state financial support for people who lack the means to pay for legal advice and representation; and for those who can pay, a restriction on which kinds of decision by public bodies can be challenged. In the area in which I work, criminal law, defendants who receive legal aid will lose the right to choose who represents them in court. Specialist criminal barrister Francis FitzGibbon on the impact the UK government's legal aid reform plans are having on the English & Welsh justice system. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on May 31, 2013 - 40 comments

Shut up and listen

Shut Up and Listen is a radio show by and for artists and DJs with learning disabilities aired on five stations in the UK. Produced by the Brighton-based charity Carousel, the organizers also run Blue Camel Club, England's largest music night for learning disabled artists and their fans in the UK with regular attendance of more than 600 people.
posted by parmanparman on May 28, 2013 - 2 comments

We choose to run after the cheese on this day and break the other limb

The annual cheese-rolling event, now unofficial and unsanctioned, has taken place at Cooper's Hill. 3,000 people attended this year, watching several races down the steep Gloucestershire hill. After a police warning to the 86 year old maker of previous cheeses concerning legal liabilities, a foam disc was used as a stand-in cheese. Despite failing to raise funding for a inspirational documentary, Kenny Rackers, an American cheese racer, attended and won the first race. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on May 27, 2013 - 26 comments

I had never seen a hole playing for Temple.

Structural Archaeology
Geoff Carter's radical view of building in the ancient world, especially the archaeology of the lost timber built environment of Southern England. It is new research into of prehistory of architecture
With the ultimate conclusion that Stonehenge is the remains of a roofed shelter. [more inside]
posted by Mitheral on May 19, 2013 - 76 comments

Just remember to obey the red man and get some qualifications…

How to be German in 20 easy steps; also, from the same author: how to be English. Elsewhere: how to be a really hip German.
posted by acb on May 11, 2013 - 84 comments

Act of Terror: arrested for filming police officers - video

When police carried out a routine stop-and-search of her boyfriend on the London Underground, Gemma Atkinson filmed the incident. She was detained, handcuffed and threatened with arrest. She launched a legal battle, which ended with the police settling the case in 2010. With the money from the settlement she funded the production of this animated film, which she says shows how her story and highlights police misuse of counterterrorism powers to restrict photography. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Apr 29, 2013 - 24 comments

His home is his castle

This St. George's Day sees news of the next attempt to redress Britain's superhero shortage: Englishman, who looks like Iron Man crossed with a mediaeval crusader. The series promises “brand new, quintessentially English characters, including Greenbelt and Dry Stone Wall”. [more inside]
posted by acb on Apr 23, 2013 - 119 comments

Meet The Edwardians

"This video has been dramatically enhanced in quality, using modern video editing tools. The film has been motion stabilized and the speed has been slowed down to correct speed (from 18 fps to 24 fps) using special frame interpolation software that re-creates missing frames." Watch corrected and cleaned footage of circa 1900s London and Cork (5 min 35 sec). (via)
posted by The Whelk on Apr 18, 2013 - 112 comments

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